A federal court of appeals today denied Robert Pruett’s appeal of his conviction for murdering a prison guard with a shank.
Daniel Nagle, the prison guard who a jury determined was murdered by Pruett, a few years earlier had said, “Someone will probably have to be killed before the prison system is improved.”
Little did he know he was prophesying his own death.
Nagle believed prison guards were understaffed and needed more help to do their jobs in a hostile environment.
With the Allred Prison Unit near Wichita Falls, many Wichitans have more than a passing interest in the ultimate outcome of this case.
Many Wichita Falls residents work as prison guards in the Allred Unit.
A jury recommended the death penalty which earned Pruett reservations for a lethal injection.
Pruett was already serving a life sentence when the prison guard refused to allow him to take his lunch into a recreation yard in 1999.
Nagle was found lying in a pool of blood in a multi-purpose room of the McConnell Unit.
He was 37 when he was slain.
Pruett’s first murder conviction was based on his alleged involvement with his father and brother in the slaying of a neighbor in Harris County in 1995.
No date has yet been set for Pruett’s execution.
He can still appeal his case to the United States Supreme Court.
On his website Pruett said he was convicted for a murder his father committed under the Law of Parties.
He further claims he is innocent of the murder of Nagle.
The autopsy report showed Nagle had been stabbed in the neck, head, arms and chest. He reportedly died of a heart attack which occurred during the brutal attack.
Evidence collected by prison authorities indicated Pruett became angered when he was told by Nagle he could not carry a sandwich into the multipurpose room.
Pruett was convicted in 2002 for the murder of Nagle and assessed the death penalty.
One Wichita Falls resident said he thought this case was an example of why the death penalty is needed.
“There’s nothing to keep an inmate already in prison on a life sentence from murdering a prsion guard if he can’t face the death penalty for it. He knows the worst he can get is just another life sentence.”
Pro-death penalty groups frequentlly use this argument to support the ultimate punishment for murdering prison guards and other law enforcement officers.
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